Alison Lee, PharmD Candidate 2019
Dr. Keith Yoshizuka presented on the job opportunities and on the details involving the field of forensic toxicology. A lot of the presentation centered around pharmacy law. You don’t need to have a law degree in order to testify in court related to pharmacy. There are very few pharmacists with law degrees in the first place. Dr. Yoshizuka said there are about 200 pharmacists with law degrees in the nation. I have never heard of this aspect of pharmacy and am interested in learning more about how this field operates. Forensic pharmacists testify on actions of drugs, mechanisms, side effects, interactions, and standard of practice only for that of a pharmacist. He mentioned that you don’t get to pick which side you represent. You are better off being nonspecific in how you can help a potential client. The chances of getting paid are also better with insurance companies or defendants than plaintiffs. It is better to wait until signing the contract before you start revealing your plans. This seminar was great for tips on how to navigate law in relation to pharmacy.
Jasmine Truong, PharmD Candidate 2019
Dr. Yoshizuka started off by stating how forensic toxicology involves testifying at trial and being an expert witness. He elaborated on how pharmacy involves lifelong learning, how having pharmacy experience right now is important, and how residency is highly recommended. He also explained that forensic toxicology specifically involves testifying about the action of drugs, mechanism of drugs, side effects and drug interactions, the standard of practice, and the meaning of lab test results since pharmacists are the drug experts. He said that it is important to consider how you do not get to choose which side of the trial contacts you, but that may influence you on whether or not you want to take the client. It is also essential that you do not “give away the store before signing the agreement (or contract)”. To prepare for a trial, he explained that all the case materials should be read, the statute of what the prosecution is required to prove should be reviewed for criminal cases, and a thorough literature search of all drugs should be conducted. Furthermore, he named several things that pharmacy schools do not teach us. This includes what happens to the patient after death. Autopsies are not conducted right away when the body is still warm, and this alters the results of the autopsy. In addition, they typically retrieve blood samples from the heart because it is easy, even though it is more accurate to take blood samples from the femoral artery. He then listed the qualifications to be considered as an expert witness (i.e. PharmD, residency, etc.). He also provided various tips for this field of pharmacy including documenting and referencing everything as well as the following statement, “Think clinically, globally, and logically. It is important not to let your emotions cloud your judgment”. This is the keeper idea that I took away from this seminar. I find that I do let my emotions get the best of me in situations that call for a more logical approach. I feel that this piece of advice is important to apply to my practice in the future, since being a pharmacist requires abiding by the law and not letting the emotions of the patient and your own emotions steer you away from this task.